Vegan Shepherds Pie Recipe

Vegan Lentil Shepherds Pie

Traditionally a Shepherds Pie is nothing more than a base of minced lamb meat and a top layer of potato mash. The potatoes get a real nice crust in the oven.
The good news: it is just too easy to make a vegan shepherds pie recipe and yes it is delicious as F….

Shepherds Pie History

The original Shepherds Pie Recipe is from Ireland.
In the berginning it was made because the Irish housewives of the late 1700s and early 1800s hated watching their husbands and kids waste food. Yeah, you heard that right. The old favorite, shepherd’s pie, was made out of leftovers at that time.
Since food waste did not get less but actually even more now, it is also even more important to get some favorite recipes in your cook-book where it is easy to use leftovers for.

Different from home to home

Shepherds Pie Recipies were different from wife to wife and home to home, but the structures were all the same, and so were the main ingredients.
Mashed potato leftovers and meat and make an incredible combo of potato, crust, and a layer of minced meat.
Isn’t it incredible that so many mainstream hip meals are actually having their roots in poor peoples food or leftover recipes?

At first, the pie was called cottage pie before they separated this meal into two categories. Beef, for cottage pie, and lamb, for shepherd’s pie.
After some time they were both called shepherd’s pie. And nowadays a lot of people don’t really know the difference… but now we even have a word for the vegan shepherds pie.

What is a Shepherds Pie

The traditional Irish Shepherd Pie had three layers of mashed potatoes and meat.
The upper and bottom layers have mashed potato and the middle layer carries the minced lamb meat.

There are different ways to make this delicious pie so the recipe can differ from home to home. 

Some people put the meat in a sauce of onion, vegetables, or whatever flavor they want to make the meat taste like. It is a very easy “tweakable” recipe that could be worked and re-worked to suit each person and more important taste.
It is a fun and easy to make meal to experiment with while cooking.
There are a lot of variations of the shepherd’s pie coming from all over the world, from changing one or more elements, and then maybe regional naming.

Variations of Shepherds Pie - easy to switch into a Vegan Shepherds Pie Version

    • The vegan or vegetarian shepherds pie (scroll down for the vegan recipe) is called shepherdless pie or shepherdess pie. Vegetarian without meat but with cheese, and vegan without meat and dairy products.
    • Potato pie (known from Australia) is a ground red meat pie topped with mashed potato, the difference is that the potato pie lacks any vegetables.
    • Cumberland pie is a version with minced meat and a layer of Breadcrumbs and cheese on top.
    • In Argentinia, a similar dish is known as pastel de papa (potato pie)
    • In Uruguay, a similar dish is known as pastel de carne (meat pie)
    • In Indonesia a similar dish is known as pastel tutup (closed pie) and is usually made with chicken and several vegetables such as carrot, green peas and boiled eggs, all topped with mashed potatoes.
    • In Portugal, a similar dish is known as empadão, with the meat usually stewed in a tomato-based gravy and layered several times between the mashed potatoes. Poultry or fish are also sometimes used instead of the traditional red meat.
    • There is a Turkish version called Hasanpasa Köfte. These are minced meat patties, formed into small bowls, filled with potato mash and topped with tomato sauce.
    • In Quebec a variation on the cottage pie is called Pate chiinois. Its made with ground beef on the bottom layer, canned sweetcorn in the middle and mashed potato on top.
    • The french version is called Hachis Parmentier. Also made mostly with leftovers.
    • The philosophers pie is from Netherland and they often add ingredients like beans, apples, prunes or apple sauce.
    • In Brazil the have a dish called escondidinho. A manioc purée hides a layer of sundried meat. It can also include cheese and chicken or cod can be used instead of beef.
    • The Admirals Pie or Fish Pie is another english pie, made of fish or seafood. The Admirals pie is served with a beachamel sauce.


Plantbased Shepherds Pie Ingredients

It is easy to make any shepherds pie a vegan or vegetarian shepherds pie. You can use a lot of different ingredients and all kind of vegetables.
Lentils, beans, Soy granules, Tofu or Chickpeas, makes a nice texture and are great protein sources.

I love to have some mushrooms for texture, or just use any leftovers I can find. A soft carrot, cauliflower, wrinkly red pepper, you get where I am going. The only thing you need to take care of is, that the vegetable layer is not too moist/wet so it can get a nice texture to cut. Lentils are perfect for that.
To make a real fluffy potato mash instead of milk and butter you can use any plant milk, vegan butter, or coconut oil.
You can also use a pumpkin-potato mix or sweet potato mash as the potato upper layer. Or try to experiment with Polenta for the upper layer.

If you know what kind of taste you like/want you do have the whole variety of plants to make your own favorite Shepherdless Pie Recipe.

You can lower the Carbon Footprint of your meal if you buy local and seasonal Ingredients. By buying Organic products you can avoid nasty pesticides (very important not only for you but also to support bees/insects), support sustainable agriculture.

To get started, here is my basic vegan lentil shepherd pie recipe.

Vegan Shepherds Pie

Vegan Lentil Shepherds Pie Recipe

Ingredients for the lentil base:

  • 2 Onions
  • 2 carrots
  • 250g mushrooms
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • salt and pepper
  • 2tbsp oil
  • 1tsp dried Thyme
  • 1tsp dried Marjoram
  • 2tbsp tomato paste
  • 150g brown Lentils
  • 1 tsp vinegar

Ingredients for the mashed potatos:

  • 1000g floury Potatos
  • salt and pepper
  • 250 ml plant-milk (soy, oat)
  • 2 tbsp vegan butter
  • optional: fresh ground nutmeg
  1. First peel the potatos and cut into cubes. Cook in salted water for approximately 20 minutes until they are soft.
  2. While the potatoes are cooking, you can prepare the lentils. Wash the lentils after you checked them for small stones. Peel onions, wash carots and cut both into small cubes. Clean the mushrooms and chop roughly. Peel the garlic and chop fine.
  3. Heat the oil in a pot and fry the onions and carrots for a few minutes. Stir inbetween. Add the mushrooms and garlic and fry for a couple more minutes. The Vegetables might get a bit golden/brown colour. This is great for taste. Just don’t burn it..
  4. Add herbs and tomato paste and stir for a very short time. Then add the lentils and add as much water until everything is covered. Cook for 20-30 minutes. The lentils should be done but not too mushy.
  5. When the potatoes are done, drain them and pour them back into the pot or into a bowl. Then mash them with a potato masher*or if you don’t have one use a big fork. While mashing add 1 tbsp of the vegan butter and plant milk. Season with salt and pepper and ad  a little bit nutmeg.
  6. Preheat the oven to 180degrees Celcius/360F.
  7. Season the lentil vegetable mix with vinegar, salt and pepper. The mix should have a nice and thick texture, like a stew.
  8. Pour the lentils into your oven bakeware* (glass or ceramic) and top with the mashed potatoes. Spread the last tbsp of the butter on top of the potato layer.
  9. Bake the pie  for about 30 minutes (can vary a little from oven to oven) until the mashed potato layer is slightly brown and crispy. You can use the grill function for the last couple of minutes.


-You can mix it up by using vegetables like leek, zucchini, red pepper, celery, beetroot and you can use any kind of mushrooms you like.

-For seasoning try mustard seeds, juniper or bayleef.

-As vinegar you can use balsamico or red wine vinegar. If you cook with alcohol you can also use some red wine.

-If you want you can just use any non-vegan recipe and swap the minced meat with soy granules.

-If you like to mix sweet, sour and salty you can add some dried prunes, or dried apricots to the lentils.

-If the potatoes have nice skin you can make some potato peel chips. Mix with a bit oil and red pepper powder. Spread on a baking sheet so they dont lay upon each other and bake at 180C/360F for approx. 10min. until golden and crispy. Be careful they burn easily when they are baking too long. Season with salt and Eat straight away.

-The shepherd pie is great to store for a couple days. We are always making a big portion so we can eat it during the next 2-3 days.

Shepherdless Pie

I hope you like this recipe inspiration. If you try it let me know how you liked it.

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